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Puerto Rico government urges private sector to create collaborative ties

By on May 17, 2017

Puerto Rico Secretary of State Luis Rivera Marín (Agustín Criollo/CB)

SAN JUAN – Secretary of State Luis Rivera Marín invited the new Puerto Rico Chamber of Commerce and all its members to join forces so the island’s private sector adheres to the strategy that the administration of Gov. Ricardo Rosselló has developed to boost the local economy.

The invitation arose during a discussion sponsored by the CofC to meet its new board members, in which Rivera Marín also stressed that through the efforts of the executive branch legislation has been enacted to promote public-private partnerships as an engine to revive the island’s economy.

“We invite you to join a permanent roundtable where [the private company] are part of the solutions. That we begin to eliminate excess regulations that exist in Puerto Rico to create better jobs and economic development. If Puerto Rico is to enter the path of progress, where we in the governor’s administration have already legislated for labor reform, a permitting reform in which public-private partnerships are promoted, and examples such as Enterprise Puerto Rico and the DMO [destination marketing organization], everyone should rest easy on having the private sector be the economy’s engine,” he said during his speech Wednesday.

Rivera Marín said the government should focus on creating a suitable environment to promote economic development and where, beyond hindering the permitting process, facilitates it. The secretary used as an example the announcement made Friday by Rosselló about the availability of issuing automatic permits online.

“Puerto Rico finally has automatic permits. Before, that working woman, a single mother, who wanted to set up her business, her beauty salon, and who perhaps had some savings after a lot of work, would ask for a permit for her beauty salon in a place where barely a few months ago there was a salon of that type, and she wouldn’t get [the permit] and tried for six months until she got tired and gave up,” he said.

He also highlighted the effectiveness of the administration’s efforts and exemplified government and private sector efforts in the U.S. Congress to obtain parity in Medicare and Medicaid funds.

“Through the alliance of the multisectoral group that the governor formed by executive order and asked me to lead, I was able to share with leaders from different health industries, hospitals, physicians, providers, plans and chamber of commerce, and more than 150 visits to members of congress were held in which, with Medicare, for the first time since 2012 there was an increase in funds, and as recently as a few days ago, $300 million were made available for our children, our elderly, the most vulnerable. Now we are going to continue working and collaborating to make sure that the health funds are provided and that the collaboration for economic development comes about,” he said.

Rivera Marín stressed the importance of small and midsize companies that generate two out of three jobs on the island and defended the executive branch’s push for labor and permitting reforms, whose goal he said is to promote and make it easier for these companies to create, develop and maintain their businesses.

“We are promoting business accelerators where we can assist small and midsize businesses in business development. We invited the Chamber of Commerce to create, along with the State Department, a small business development center to assist them in creating business plans, financing [and] export logistics,” he said.

The administration proposes, he added, to ensure that these businesses are equipped to face the challenges of opening and maintaining a business, which in turn translates into wealth and economic development for Puerto Rico.

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